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My Move to Kansas – The Struggle and Learning

When we had our first open house on March 15th and then were put under a “shelter in place order” on March 17th, I just assumed we’d be staying in California for at least another six months.

The universe had a different plan. 

A week after our first open house, with no more showings, we got an offer that was exactly the price we said we’d be delighted with, so we took it.

While I anticipated moving across the country would be an adjustment, I never thought these past four months would play out as they have.

Those first two months were filled with a flurry of packing, and helping clients navigate PPP borrowing along with the many other changes they were instantly facing with regards to their teams, and their bottom line.  I was grateful to be fully consumed with these projects as it barely allowed me to notice the fact that I couldn’t go anywhere or see anyone.

On May 16th my husband Tim and I flew from California to Kansas with our dog Nica, full of optimism and hope for finding and settling into a new home.  Tim is originally from Kansas, so for him settling in was easy – this is home.  For me, I instantly felt the press of being a stranger in a foreign land.  Not wanting to succumb to feelings of sadness and loss as I felt the distance and isolation from everything I knew, I kept myself very busy with client work and finding a place to live.

In the back of my mind, I kept thinking to myself “it will all feel more “normal” and I’ll be more settled when we’re in our new house and I can set up my office.”  And at the same time, I knew there was more to it.

The truth was, there was this sense of loss that went beyond leaving my office of 27 years or moving out of the state I’d lived in for 40 years.  There was something else stirring in me.

It wasn’t until after we moved into our new home, all the boxes were unpacked, pictures hung, yard mowed, and the first pot of sauce and meatballs made (cooking is one of the ways I nest 😊) that I realized that unsettled feeling was not going away.

It was time to face it head-on…

Not being one to ignore the festering of negative feelings and thoughts, I began digging and exploring the question that had been looming in the back of my mind…

“So I’ve done all the ‘stuff’ that would have me be settled in this new place, what are all these feelings of loss, anger, and sadness really all about?”

One of the ways I process thoughts and feelings is by writing and talking through things.  So, I wrote, talked with Tim, advisors, and friends, and then wrote some more.  I found the writing helped me get past the first layers of thoughts and allowed me to dig deeper and find the underlying feelings that untimely are driving my experience.  I found that talking with others helped me not feel so isolated and alone.

It wasn’t just that I’d moved halfway across the country where I barely know anyone. It was that I moved to a new state in the middle of a pandemic where I couldn’t go out and meet new people, connect with the professional communities I am used to associating with.  Even upon returning to California for a visit, not being able to spend time with friends and family who were quarantined.

It was also that I felt a sense of uncertainty about the future. When would this all end? How long will it be before I can meet with clients in person again? How is this going to affect my client’s businesses? How will it affect my business? How will it affect my family and our ability to stay connected?

At first, the process of exploring these questions was not fun.  My emotions ran the gamut from sad to angry, resentful to frustrated.  In the end, resigned to hopeful, confused to clear, separate to connected.  In the middle of my exploration, I had a big ‘aha’ moment as I began to see how I’d let myself get into this state.

The biggest problem was that I pulled into myself.  I didn’t reach out to talk with others about how I was feeling. I didn’t want to be a whiner or appear like I didn’t have my shit together. I’m supposed to be the one who is always optimistic, positive, and sees possibilities when others don’t.  I didn’t want anyone to know I was struggling.

The problem ultimately was that by not talking about it, I only became more isolated and separated.  That had nothing to do with the limitations presented by COVID – that was all on me.

What I learned…

While I’d like to tell you the answers came quickly and instantly, they did not.  But the answers that did come. , and here is what I learned…

  • Acknowledge how your feeling. It’s okay to feel ‘off’ right now.  You’re not alone.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out and talk with your advisor, friends, peers. Do so with the intent of getting beyond the paralysis and isolation and finding a path forward in hope and possibility.
  • Set goals based on what you do know – start with one thing. No, we don’t know how this pandemic will play out, but it will, and you’ll be here. What does your business need right now? Stop waiting for it to return to how it was.  What is the next one thing that you CAN do?
  • Look to the data for answers. Data always provides clarity, and clarity gives you the confidence to take more powerful actions. If you want to know how your year will turn out, look to the data to give you answers. Look at your P&L to date and your backlog of work and how much you anticipate selling and producing for the balance of this year and create a profitability projection using that data.

Final thoughts…

The one thing we have control over is ourselves – our thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs.  If you believe it will be okay, it will.  If you act out from choice, you will have more control over your future. It all begins with your thoughts.  What thoughts are running around in your head?

Know this – you are more resourceful and powerful than you think. 

Choose ONE next action you can take to help steer you in the direction you’d like to go. Feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email if you’d like to have someone hear what that is. I’m listening.

Warmest,

Vicki

p.s. if you would like to set up a time to talk about your business and how to plan for a future you desire, feel free to email me.

p.p.s. If this story resonates with you, it may also resonate with someone you know.  If so, please share it?

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

16 Comments

  1. Paul Barkley

    Thank you for sharing Vicki. Eternal optimism always prevails!!! I am glad you and Tim have settled in. Olive Avenue is just not the same without you! We miss you.

    Reply
    • Vicki Suiter

      Thanks Paul – we miss you guys too!

      Reply
  2. Judith Miller

    Vicki – this is a timely, excellent post! Thanks so much for illuminating what so many of us have been experiencing even WITHOUT a move across country. I particularly like the sentence ” In the end, resigned to hopeful, confused to clear, separate to connected.”

    Stay safe, enjoy the challenge. I know you will meet it head on!

    Reply
    • Vicki Suiter

      Thank you for your kind words Judith!

      Reply
  3. Mike Halverson

    Vicki, welcome to Kansas. This is a great place to live. Hope you find your place and enjoy living in Kansas.
    I read every email you send. Keep it coming

    Reply
    • Vicki Suiter

      So glad to hear that the content I produce is of value to you Mike. Thank you for the ‘welcome’ to Kansas!

      Reply
  4. Greg Hillman

    Your writing is not just true, it’s fun to read, an amazing combination of style and confidence. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Vicki Suiter

      Thank you for your kind words Greg.

      Reply
  5. Susan Schwartz

    vicki…this was especially touching…especially coming from you. your vulnerability (willingness to be vulnerable) offered a wonderful model to follow. I hope that Kansas is welcoming you and that you’re finding your place there. be well.

    Reply
    • Vicki Suiter

      LOL, thank you Susan. Yes, I’m not always one to be vulnerable am I? Kansas has been very kind to me actually, and I’m looking forward to being able to connect with more and more people as time goes on.

      Reply
  6. Dolores Davis

    Vicki,
    This has been me for the last couple of months. I hit my wall and I didn’t know what was going on. I internalized *everything*. I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, nobody cares about me and on and on. Finally, I started listening to the advice of others and started reaching out and connecting to others. I learned that I was NOT alone and that that there is no one way to get through a freaking pandemic. I agree with you. I must find just one thing to do. And it doesn’t even have to be work related. Something that I can do and finish to have that sense of accomplishment. For me, this weekend, it is going to be organizing my spice drawer! I am better these days. I do stay in front of my company and it’s functioning’s and I do believe everything is going to be all right.
    Be well. Stay connected. Have some fun.
    Dolores

    Reply
    • Vicki Suiter

      Thank you for sharing Dolores. You make a good point – “And it doesn’t even have to be work-related. Something I can do and finish to have that sense of accomplishment.” I completely agree!

      Reply
  7. Dan LeVine Mellion

    Hey Vicki , I heard about your move from Steve Rempe and reached out to you but I think with all that was going on It got lost . I have a very different experience but also came to the same conclusions and have moved on with some very positive moves . I also realized that a pattern of being around over controlling men doesn’t work for me on any level anymore . You would think by now I would have gone that one . Let’s talk catch up and share soon . Dan

    Reply
    • Vicki Suiter

      Sounds like your move has gone well Dan – so glad to hear it!

      Reply
  8. Daniel McLennon

    Thanks for sharing. This all applies well to those of us who have stayed put too!

    Reply
    • Vicki Suiter

      Your welcome Dan. Hope all is well with you and Nancy. Sending good thoughts your way!

      Reply

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